Just a few days after European teams discovered their fate, African sides have learned what awaits them in their qualifying matches for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™.
The 2022 CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Morocco will double as a qualifying competition for the global tournament, and the draw for the corresponding qualifiers has unveiled the fixtures that lie in store, as well as revealing the qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups.
2022 CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations: key facts
- 12th edition
- The competition was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Host country: Morocco
- Number of competing teams: 12
- Holders: Nigeria
- Honours: Nigeria (11 titles), Equatorial Guinea (two)
There will be a historical dimension to the draw given that, for the first time in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, four automatic qualifying spots will be allocated to African teams, as well as two additional places at the inter-confederation play-off tournament. It is also worth noting that the ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup will feature 32 nations for the first time, as compared to 24 at France 2019.
While the number of qualified nations has been increased, so has the list of teams taking part in the qualifiers. In fact, no fewer than 44 national sides will compete for the right to join Morocco at the continental tournament – 24 more than were present in the 2018 qualifiers. This remarkable rise demonstrates the growing interest in women’s football in Africa, and reflects the impact of efforts made by FIFA and CAF to develop the sport.
The next Women’s World Cup marks another step forward, with the guaranteed participation of four African teams and the possibility of two more joining them via the playoffs.
Africa at the FIFA Women’s World Cup
- The best performance by an African team on women’s football’s greatest stage was Nigeria’s run to the quarter-finals in 1999.
- Nigeria have never missed out on the tournament (eight appearances).
- Six CAF representatives have previously competed at the Women’s World Cup: South Africa (once), Cameroon (twice), Côte d’Ivoire (once), Ghana (three times), Equatorial Guinea (once), Nigeria (eight times).
- At France 2019, Africa was represented by Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa. The Nigerians and Cameroonians both reached the Round of 16.
- Nigeria’s Nkiru Okosieme remains the youngest captain in Women’s World Cup history, after donning the armband at the age of 19 years and 261 days (versus Germany in 2011).
- The top African goalscorers at the tournament are Cameroon’s Gaelle Enganamouit, Gabrielle Onguene and Ajara Nchout, and Nigeria’s Rita Nwadike and Nkiru Okosieme, who all have three goals to their name.